Costa Rica Coffee Guide

August Is a Month of Change in the Garden

August 10, 2010

Ticos often refer to August as “canícula,” and it’s a month of change. There are mornings of intense heat and afternoons of heavy rains. August is when the rainy season really begins in Costa Rica. Tropical storms and hurricanes now begin forming in the Caribbean basin, causing storm fronts along the Central American isthmus. Although we don’t get the cyclonic winds, we sure do get the rain.

Here are some tips on how you can continue to garden in spite of it all. Because of the extremes of hot blasting sunlight and torrential rains, many tender young garden plants can be damaged or washed away. For this reason, it’s smart to cut back on your gardening activities outside and move inside.

Try planting tender garden vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers in pots or containers in sunny areas around the home, out of the rain. Many gardeners opt for a greenhouse. Outside, you can tend hardier plants such as cabbage, kale, collards, green bunching onions, parsley, celery, sweet potatoes, peanuts, yuca, taro and wild yams. You can also supplement your salads with leaves from the hardy perennial hibiscus known as amapola (Hibiscus sinensis). The optimal lunar planting dates for the month are from the 5th to the 10th.

Of course, grass and weeds grow exceedingly well during August, so much of a gardener’s time deals with mowing and tending ornamentals. Composting grass clippings and other organic waste can help create a steady supply of compost fertilizer.

We have developed a novel system of precomposting our organic waste outside in compost piles covered with black plastic. After two months, the compost goes to the worm unit, where it is completely digested and is then ready for use in the garden or container plantings.

Worm castings have much higher amounts of plant nutrients than regular compost. They release five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus and 11 times more potassium for plants to utilize than regular compost.

The major fruits during August are bananas, lemons, pejibayes or peach palm fruits, jocotes, coconuts, guavas, mountain apples, papayas and pineapples, as oranges, mangos and avocados finish up around the country.

May you enjoy your mornings in the garden and a good book in the rainy afternoons.

For more on tropical gardening, contact Ed at thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com. He has books and seeds to share with you.

You may be interested

Chirripó National Park to reopen October 30
Costa Rica
1698 views
Costa Rica
1698 views

Chirripó National Park to reopen October 30

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 28, 2020

Chirripó National Park will reopen for tourists on October 30, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) announced Monday. Visitors…

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Monday, September 28
Costa Rica
5564 views
Costa Rica
5564 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Monday, September 28

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 28, 2020

Costa Rica announced 49 new coronavirus-related deaths since Friday for a total of 861, according to official data released Monday…

SJO airport improvements delayed, report says
Costa Rica
6705 views
Costa Rica
6705 views

SJO airport improvements delayed, report says

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 28, 2020

The operator of Costa Rica's Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) will suspend planned improvements for several years due to the…